Wednesday, December 05, 2001

Landfill case will continue

Warren County appeals expansion

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Warren County will continue to fight expansion of a closed landfill despite losing a lawsuit against the would-be operator last month.

        Common Pleas Judge P. Daniel Fedders ruled Nov. 13 that residential zoning of a 132-acre Union Township site unconstitutionally denied Browning-Ferris Industries “any economically viable use” of the land. The site is next to Bigfoot Run landfill, closed by BFI when it reached capacity in mid-1999.

        The commissioners announced after meeting with their attorney Tuesday that they will appeal Judge Fed ders' decision to the 12th District Court of Appeals in Middletown.

        “I'm really pleased that the county commissioners are fighting it,” said Ruth MacKenzie, chairwoman of the Morrow Environmental Preservation Association.

        Commissioners, she said, followed the zoning rules in refusing to rezone the land, which is on the edge of an aquifer that provides residents with water.

        “This country was founded on laws, not men, and suddenly money and men became more important than laws,” Mrs. MacKenzie said.

        The appeal will force an additional delay for BFI, now owned by Allied Waste Industries. Attorney Francis Barrett, who represents the company, could not be reached for comment.

        County officials say they think they have strong grounds for an appeal.

        “The standard is "beyond fair debate,'” County Administrator Bob Price said Tuesday. “I do not think that standard was reflected in the judge's decision.”

        The lawsuit, which has dragged on for three years, has cost the county almost $35,000 in legal fees and the appeal could run an additional $30,000 to $35,000, county officials say.


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